Obesity Matches Alcohol For Liver Disease

A large new study presented at the International Liver Conference shows that the absolute risk for liver disease from obesity is similar to heavy alcohol consumption and that the two together are deadly.

William Rosenberg, senior researcher on the study, said that with obesity, “the damage that you do to yourself by drinking is much greater than if you’re just overweight. This is the first study really to demonstrate this in a large population of women. People are not aware that they are putting themselves at this risk.”

The study followed more than 100,000 women from the UK Collaborative Trial of Ovarian Cancer Screening to examine the effect of the interaction between body mass index and alcohol consumption on liver disease events in the general population of women middle-aged and older. Follow-up data from routine healthcare databases and death certificates provided information on liver disease events.

Daniele Prati from the Scientific Committee of the European Association for the Study of the Liver commented on the study:

“It’s well known that alcohol and a person’s weight are major causes of chronic liver disease however there has been a need for a large population study to compare these factors’ influences on each other. Interestingly, the research found the combination of a woman’s drinking habits and weight has an important effect on liver health and life expectancy.”

So it seems that liver disease is yet another serious complication of obesity that is largely underestimated by the general public.

Click here to read more from Medscape, here to read more from ScienceDaily, here to read more from MedPage Today, and here to read the study abstract.

Oblivion, photograph © i k o / flickr

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